ecosystem importance: example of pathogens fight hosts (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Tuesday, January 18, 2022, 19:04 (204 days ago) @ David Turell

Phages killing bacteria used in therapy:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2304997-phage-therapies-for-superbug-infections-ar...

"The use of bacteria-killing viruses known as phages to treat antibiotic-resistant infections is starting to take off in Belgium. More than 100 people have now been given phage therapies there, thanks to a regulatory system that makes it easier for doctors to prescribe them.

***

"One of the doctors, Anaïs Eskenazi, decided to try phage therapy. A sample of the bacterium was sent to the Eliava Institute in Tbilisi, Georgia, to find a phage that could kill it. The Eliava Institute has been using phage therapy to treat infections since the 1920s.

"By February 2018, the woman was still not improving, and she was finally treated with the phage in combination with antibiotics. Within weeks, her condition improved, and her broken femur finally began to heal. She is now able to walk again, usually with crutches, and is taking part in sports such as cycling.

"Despite results such as this, there are several obstacles to using phage therapy more widely. Phages are specific to particular bacteria, and those bacteria can quickly evolve resistance, says Ben Temperton at the University of Exeter, UK. Evolving or “pre-adapting” phages, as the Eliava Institute did, reduces resistance but takes time.

“'Patients have typically been on a long journey of failed antibiotic regimens before phages are considered,” says Temperton.

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“'When possible, doctors should prefer the use of pre-adapted phage with antibiotics to obtain the phage-antibiotic synergy, which makes the treatment very effective,” Eskenazi says.

"These issues make it hard to get regulatory approval. At the time the woman was treated, Eskenazi had to get special approval to try phage therapy. This remains the case in most countries, which is why phage therapies are rarely used."

Comment: This article is of interest at several levels. A new use for bacteriophages and looking at ecosystems to find enemies for specific organism-borne disease to find inventive
treatments.


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